delight at Niclai
Saturday, February 28, 2004 The girls tipped off the action at 6 p.m. as they faced Big Five nemesis McKinleyville. After trailing for most of the game, the Lady Loggers took control in the fourth quarter, limiting the Panthers to two points, en route to a 33-29 win.
The boys game,
played in front of a packed house, courtesy of the raucous traveling party the
Hoopa Warriors trail in their wake, saw Hoopa jump out to a 33-22 halftime lead
as they knocked off the Loggers 54-47.
coach Inker McCovey, his voice non-existent as he held the Niclai championship
trophy in his arms while well-wishers gave him hearty congratulations, was happy
for his team.
guys are performing so well right now," he said. "There is nothing
more joyful than bringing these kids down here and allowing them to share this
came on the back of a well-earned win against a tall, athletic Eureka team. The
Warriors' big man, 6-foot-8, 250-pound Everest Schmidt scored a team-high 18
points, while Ramiro Ramirez scored 16, including knocking down four 3-pointers,
as the Warriors upset the Big Five champs.
mentally prepared for this," said Ramirez. "We remembered what
happened the last time we played them, made our adjustments and came out here
and played aggressive, Hoopa ball."
preparation was obvious from the opening tip as Hoopa displayed more energy and
more drive in the first quarter.
12 of his points in the opening quarter, as Hoopa served notice to the Loggers
that this would not be a repeat of the last game, when Eureka ran the Warriors
out of the Logger gym in a 73-56 rout.
the first quarter with a 20-10 lead as it ran a patient offense, milking the
clock, and looking for the best shot. The Loggers, who, if they had made a few
more layups would have had a better shot at winning, were led by Mo Purify, who
almost single-handedly kept his team in the hunt during the second half.
finished with a game-high 21 points, and once again was an everything-man for
the Loggers, handling the ball, defending Schmidt and bearing the brunt of the
the Eureka point guard, who had his hands full against the waves of Warriors
McCovey threw out on the floor, scored 10 points. Eureka falls to 22-6 while
Hoopa, who has a good shot of a home game on Tuesday when the North Coast
Section playoffs start, improves to 21-9.
girls had their hands full with McKinleyville, a team they had already beaten
three times this season.
opened in a 1-2-2 matchup zone, that they switched off-and-on with a 2-3 zone to
frustrate the Loggers' penchant for getting penetration from their guards.
Mack took a
27-24 lead into the fourth, when the wheels fell off, thanks in large part to
the Loggers defense. Eureka held the Panthers to one field goal in the final
eight minutes, while Katrina denHeyer and Reia Shapiro took the game over.
only scored four points, pulled down 11 rebounds, blocked two shots and played
tough man-to-man defense against Mack's biggest threat, Ashley Curry.
"If I had
to pick one, denHeyer was our MVP tonight," said Kristie Christiansen, as
she smiled after the Loggers had captured their first Niclai championship.
"She played a great game inside."
led Eureka with 10 points and Shapiro added six, as the Loggers won their 18th
Curry led the
Panthers with 10 points, while guard Alex Iorg added seven, but the scoring
dropped off from there. McKinleyville coach Brad Warze pointed to conditioning
as a factor as his team struggled in the fourth.
were in better shape than us and it's unfortunate," he said. "Curry,
whose effort I thought was extraordinary, is only playing at 90 percent. We just
need to find some offense."